We decided our February LetsLunch date would be "lucky" foods, in honor of the lunar new year celebration during the first-ish week the month.
The lunar new year is kind of a weird thing for me. In the last couple of years, I have learned more about my Korean heritage, so I know the basics of traditions during the Korean New Year (Seollal)-- I've just never actually put them into play.
What's definitely clear to me is the importance of eating tteok guk for luck in the new year. This suits me perfectly, since tteok guk (Korean rice cake soup) is one of my very favorite Korean foods.
Some Korean recipes call for beef stock (I used my pho broth last January) but I really like to make mine with a mix of kelp, bonito flakes and dashida (Korean beef stock powder).
I forgot to take photos this month when I made tteok guk last week, but there are step by step photos here and here.
Korean Rice Cake Soup - (2 big bowls or 4 appetizer size)
1 pack bonito flakes (about 2 TBS)
4-6 pieces kelp
2 TBS dashida (Korean beef stock powder)
1/2 to 1 cup sliced beef (marinate in 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 scant TBS each: sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar)*
2 cups sliced rice cake** (tteok guk tteok -- as opposed to tteok bogi tteok, which are shaped like tubes)
3-4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, divided
2 sheets kim/nori (seaweed sheets -- the kind for sushi or kimbap), cut into matchstick size strips
2 green onions, sliced thinly
- Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add bonito flakes and kelp. Boil 10-15 minutes.
- While broth is boiling, fry bulgogi until rare to medium rare (the meat will continue cooking in the soup).
- Strain the broth to remove the bonito and kelp. Return to stovetop and whisk in dashida.
- Bring the broth back up to a boil and slowly add the rice cake. When the rice cakes float they are done (about 3-6 minutes, longer if they were frozen)
- Use a slotted spoon and remove the tteok (if you do not think you will have leftovers, you may skip this step). Toss the tteok with the sesame oil to keep from sticking.
- Keeping the broth at a boil, slowly pour in the beaten egg. Count to 10 (seriously, all the way to 10) then use a fork or chopstick to make egg ribbons. Cook 1-2 more minutes.
- Split the tteok and beef into bowls, then ladle the broth over. If you did not remove the tteok from the broth, split the sesame oil in each bowl too.
- Garnish the tteok guk with strips of nori, sesame seeds, green onion and lots of freshly cracked pepper.
* I often use leftover bulgogi I already have, so the amount varies. But each person should have 1/4 cup of meat at the minimum up to as much as you have (no more than 1 cup... be reasonable!)
** I like a lot of tteok in my tteok guk! You might increase this to 3 cups if you like a lot too.
LetsLunch is a monthly meeting for food bloggers and is the brain child of Cheryl Tan. Our group chooses a date and a theme, then we all post our recipes on the same day (or at least we try to... mine is 3 days late this month).
If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you! send a Tweet to us using #letslunch (I'm @emmacarew).
Find the other posts on Cheryl's blog or by searching #Letslunch on Twitter.
See you next month for "Thank Goodness It's Spring!" recipes.